Anatomy of a Page-Turner

Anatomy of a Page-Turner

“I couldn’t put it down!” Authors love to hear readers say those words. So do our publishers. But what, exactly, is this mysterious literary essence that hooks a reader? What holds them so hard, they simply must keep reading, often long into the...
The Thrill of the First Sentence

The Thrill of the First Sentence

How To Write a Winning “Hook” Do you slave over your story’s opening sentence? Good! That’s what successful writers do: write it, revise it, and tweak it until they’re sure it will fire the reader’s desire to know what comes next. A first sentence...
Writing As an Extreme Sport

Writing As an Extreme Sport

Writing? An extreme sport? Hell, yes. We rappel up rock-faces of chapters. We raft through rapids of plot. We hang-glide on unstable character arcs, and bobsled down ice alleys of dialogue, then run a marathon of revision. Sometimes, like the fellow in the Stephen...
What You Have in Common with this Bestselling Author

What You Have in Common with this Bestselling Author

  I’m a big fan of bestselling author John le Carré, so I’ve often applied admiring adjectives to his novels. But I came across an unfamiliar adjective in a review of his latest book. The critic wrote: “Le Carré’s prose remains brisk and lapidary.” Lapidary? What did...
“Wondrous” Is the Word

“Wondrous” Is the Word

Exciting update! I recently posted here about a fine writer I mentored – Christine Higdon – whose debut novel The Very Marrow of Our Bones was just released. Well, the Toronto Star has just given it a glowing review, calling it “a wondrous book.” Absolutely true! I’m...
Magic Moments

Magic Moments

The package arrived on my doorstep. A crisp new book, sent by the author, Christine Higdon. Her debut novel. I felt a sweet excitement, because I had mentored Christine in the early stage of her manuscript, and now here was the published book in all its bright...